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Essay on Birches by Robert Frost

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Birches

I believe so much of poetry enlists the senses, beginning with the sense of sound. Whether it’s the rhythmic flow of the poem or the mere need to recite the words for a clearer understanding. The sense of sight can’t help but participate while one reads a poem. It’s like asking an artist to paint how he feels. Imagery is a key part of poetry creating a visual understanding. In the end poetry give a voice to the unsayable in our lives and indeed to life itself. After reading “Birches” by Robert Frost, my senses were reeling. The poem reads beautifully and is soothing to the ear. The imagery also paints a scene I have witnessed many winter days, growing up in the mountains. Robert Frost, while knowing the realistic cause behind the bent birch trees, prefers to add an imaginative interpretation behind the bending of the birches. He also uses the entire poem to say something profound about life. I feel it is indeed a message that, yes life may get hard, and we may lose our way, but there is still innocence and beauty in our world. We just need to remember.

In the first section of the poem, Frost explains the appearance of the birches scientifically. He implies that natural phenomenon makes the branches of the birches bend and sway. Frost suggests that repeated ice storms are the real culprit to the bending branches. He however, takes the ordinary and mundane and makes it extraordinary, even comparing the breaking away of the ice from the trees to the “dome of heaven” shattering. Frost also lends sound to his description of the branches as “they click upon themselves As the breeze rises.” Frost explains the branches are bent by the ice, but do not break. Frost again adds beautiful imagery comparing the bent branche...


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...can choose to let these events break us or we can let the icy/hard shell break free from us and find what lies beneath has grown with character and wisdom. We all have things that remind us from time to time of a more carefree, happy period in our lives. When we remember, we cross the thresholds of time and distance. We like the “Swinger of Birches” wish if only I could go back and relive that special time. For Frost, the character in this poem is taken back to his carefree past by the birch trees.

Poetry helps us to cross these thresholds of time also. Poetry allows us to experience beauty and find a path to a long ago buried feeling or desire. “Birches” by Robert Frost is an example of such poetry. It is filled with beautiful, profound images. In an age of disbelief, “Birches” evokes feeling, a reminiscence of innocence. It speaks to what’s human in all of us.


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